Author: Maria Kay Simms
Trade Paperback, 496 pages
Publication date: June 1996
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On the first page of The Witch's Circle: Rituals and Craft of the Cosmic Muse, the author states:
This book started out to be a "Book of Shadows" of my rituals based on astrological themes. Somehow, along the way, it became the story of my own spiritual evolution, then the development of my circle, and also the changes and evolution in my mother circle and its other daughter circles.
Maria Simms did a much better job than most authors of summing up the important features of her book. While the majority of this book is astrological based rituals written for and used by her group, the Circle of the Cosmic Muse, some of the most interesting parts have nothing to do with Wiccan ritual. The early chapters trace the author's slow change from a Catholic astrologer to a Wiccan astrologer and establish the author's own views of astrology, magick, and religion. The reader sees the evolution of her ideas as well as the evolution of the groups she works with.
Readers just looking for rituals will not be disappointed, however. Unlike many of the books full of Wiccan rituals on the market today, the rituals in this book truly present an original point of view. Ms. Simms has fully integrated astrology into all of her rituals. This book has astrologically based group rituals for each of the eight sabbats and the thirteen full moons, along with special purpose rituals for dedication, Wiccaning, handfasting, and more. While these rituals may not have the lyricalness of an Ed Fitch ritual, they are well-written, interesting rituals.
The Witch's Circle also has a chapter covering everything from advice on finding or starting a circle, to making robes, incense, and oils, to songs and a brief outline of her circle's three degree training program. The book concludes with a chapter of the author's personal reflections on children in the Craft, social change, religion, evolution, and networking.
While I would not give this book a "best of class" award, it is interesting and useful -- particularly for those Wiccans interested in astrology. I consider it well worth the money I spent on it. This is something I can't always say about books published by Llewellyn these days.
Reviewed by Randall
Additional Books by Maria Kay Simms